Backtrolling for king salmon on the Kenai River is the subject of this video. Greg Brush and Mark Wackler have a combined 50-plus-years of Kenai River guiding under their belts, for a multitude of species. With a king run that starts in May and typically closes on July 31st, they’ve seen a lot of big fish come over the gunwales in the early years, and a lot of fish released in recent years. Backtrolling for king salmon has been their go-to method.
Backtrolling on the Kenai is a little different than backtrolling for king salmon on most rivers. The main reasons are the possibility of hooking a 70-plus-pounder (despite the downturn in numbers, 70-pounders are still caught every year), combined with fast current and a lot of boat traffic. Premium, heavy gear is required.
Both Mark and Greg prefer 65-pound-test braid for king salmon on the Kenai. They use heavy salmon rods and fairly large, stout line-counter reels like the Shimano Tekota 500 line counter.
When backtrolling for king salmon on the Kenai using plugs, both Mark and Greg prefer a 60-pound-test mono leader. This choice is based on decades of experience fishing the Kenai. A leader length of six feet is common, and depending on conditions, sometimes the plug is flat lined; sometimes it’s fished with a jumbo Jet Diver. Greg goes into specific detail regarding how he rigs his plug setups for king salmon on the Kenai.
Mark discusses using Spin ‘N Glows and Cheaters. The rods and mainline are the same as those used for plugs. Mark provides specific detail on rigging these lures, including a detailed description of the “hangback amputee” rigging favored by many experienced Kenai king fishermen.
This video provides a wealth of information on backtrolling the Kenai and is based on decades of experience from two of the rivers best king salmon guides. If you use the proven riggings they describe for backtrolling for king salmon on the Kenai, perhaps you’ll be the next to land that elusive 70-pound king.